Does Obamacare Cover Alternative Medicine? – DEBATED
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Section 2706, "Non-Discrimination in Health Care," page 42, signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, available at www.thomas.gov, states:
"(a) PROVIDERS. - A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law. This section shall not require that a group health plan or health insurance issuer contract with any health care provider willing to abide by the terms and conditions for participation established by the plan or issuer. Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or the Secretary from establishing varying reimbursement rates based on quality or performance measures."
Ankita Rao, Reporter at Kaiser Health News, stated the following in her July 29, 2013 article "Alternative Treatments Could See Wide Acceptance Thanks to Obamacare," available at pbs.org:
"One clause of the health law in particular -- Section 2706 -- is widely discussed in the alternative medicine community because it requires that insurance companies 'shall not discriminate' against any health provider with a state-recognized license. That means a licensed chiropractor treating a patient for back pain, for instance, must be reimbursed the same as medical doctors. In addition, nods to alternative medicine are threaded through other parts of the law in sections on wellness, prevention and research...
...[U]nder the health care law each state defines its essential benefits plan -- what is covered by insurance -- somewhat differently, the language concerning alternative medicine has to be very specific in terms of who gets paid and for what kinds of treatment."
The American Holistic Health Association posted on its webpage "AHHA Featured Issue July 20, 2012," available at www.ahha.org:
"Will more complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) type healthcare modalities be covered by ACA? This could happen if the healthcare providers are licensed professionals. But this doesn't look very promising. Federal subsidies for state Medicaid programs can only be used for ‘essential health benefits,' which are defined as medically necessary services. States will not be reimbursed for CAM services, which at best cover licensed chiropractors and acupuncturists and only for a limited number of visits."
Does Obamacare Cover Alternative Medicine? – DEBATED
John Weeks, Publisher and Editor of "Integrator Blog News & Reports," wrote in his May 6, 2012 article "The Supreme Court and Health Reform: Much Is at Stake for Integrative Medicine," available at www.huffingtonpost.com:
"Over the last 30 years, many so-called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or integrative health care practitioners have gained or advanced inclusion in state licensing, state-mandated insurance coverage schemes and other state policies such as pain commissions and loan forgiveness for serving the underserved. Among these are chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, direct-entry midwives and naturopathic doctors… Section 3502 of the law [PPACA], on patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), specifically denotes that these multidisciplinary practices may include chiropractors and licensed complementary and alternative medicine practitioners in their community-based, team care models.”
The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), in an Aug. 13, 2012 article, "Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine Declares Support for Affordable Care Act's Non-discrimination Section Urged by Licensed CAM Professionals," available at www.integrativepractitioner.com, stated:
"The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) sent a July 6, 2012 newsletter to members in support of 'the historic Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act' and which 'expands health care coverage to millions of Americans.' The notice shared that one reason for the support is that 'the Act provides third party payer coverage for any health professional licensed in a given state.' (Section 2706, Non-Discrimination in Health Care, would require inclusion of licensed complementary and alternative healthcare professionals in coverage schemes.)
The CAHCIM newsletter also shared that the vision of the Consortium is aligned with the law's expansion of 'the reach of innovative preventive and treatment approaches designed to help Americans achieve better health through integrated approaches that promote healing and health in every individual and community.'"
Erik Goldman, Editor of HolisticPrimaryCare.net, was quoted in a July 19, 2012 article "Affordable Care Act and Access to Integrative Medicine-What Does it Really Mean?," by Glen Sabin, Board Member of the Society for Integrative Oncology, available at www.fontherapeutics.com:
"It [ACA] really doesn't provide much fiscal support for holistic services. The health insurance industry has made a miserable hash out of conventional medicine - which already has a reductionist, treat-the-numbers, protocol-driven mindset. One can reasonably expect that this effect will be even worse on holistic/functional/integrative medicine because insurance plan thinking is quite antithetical to holistic, individualized, health-oriented thinking.”
Jann Bellamy, JD, Founder of the Campaign for Science-Based Healthcare, in an Oct. 4, 2012 article "Obamacare and CAM [Complementary Alternative Medicine] II: Discrimination (or Not) Against CAM," available at www.sciencebasedmedicine.org, wrote:
"…now that everyone will have insurance coverage, I wonder how long it will take patients to figure out that, if they go to an M.D., D.O., or A.R.N.P as their PCP [Primary Care Physician], their diagnosis and treatment is covered, but when they go to an N.D. [Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine] as their PCP, not all of their diagnoses and treatments are covered."